What prompted David to issue a charge to his military leader to count his potential army size (this is how it’s normally interpreted)? It was Satan; yet in 2 Samuel 24:1 we read it was the Lord. There appears a problem between the two accounts. When looked upon in relation to Exodus 30:12 we might get a better handle on it. In any event the Lord was angry with Israel and He “moved” (prompted) David to take a census. The role that Satan played is only subservient to that which the Lord allowed (similar to the role in relation to Job). While the Lord “moved” David to do a certain thing, it was up to David to do that certain thing in whatever way he chose. He choice of motivation resulted in his sin. David purchased a piece of ground for the Temple. Though he could not build, he could prepare for its building, and that’s what he did – in abundance.
Application: Clearly we have an unfortunate experience in David’s life, but what was initially bad for David turned out good for him (and the nation). He charges his son concerning this task he could not fulfill. “Set you heart and your soul to seek the Lord,” David says to his son. When this is done, coupled with faithful obedience to the Lord’s will, what can’t man get accomplished? When the Lord is on your side, nothing is impossible.